Standard beats Olympiakos 2-0 in Champions League

Dieudonne Mbokani scored one goal and set up the other to help Standard Liege beat Olympiakos 2-0 Wednesday for its first win in this year’s Champions League.

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Mbokani gave his team the lead in the 31st minute, and then crossed to forward Milan Jovanovic who headed in the second in 88th.

The win gives Liege four points in four games in Group H. Olympiakos remained in second place behind Arsenal with six points.

Standard were under intense pressure to deliver their first win in Europe. The team is struggling in third place in the national first division.

“It was definitely time, we had to show to Belgium and to Europe that we can play at this level,” Standard goalkeeper Sinan Bolat said.

Mbokani had to muscle his way past defender Olof Mellberg before he could shoot past goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis for his first Champions League goal.

Mbokani’s goal awoke Liege’s attack, with Jovanovic, Eliaquim Mangala and Mehdi Carcela all having several scoring chances in the last 15 minutes of the first half.

Carcela came close to making it 2-0 in the 40th minute when his long-range attempt hit the crossbar.

Jovanovic sealed the win with his second Champions League goal by heading beyond Nikopolidis.

The striker described the win as “a big night.”

“After we scored the goal we played a very intelligent game,” Jovanovic said.

Despite controlling possession for most of the night, Olympiakos failed to consistently challenge Bolat.

Olympiakos nearly equalized in the 60th, but Mellberg’s attempt on goal from a long pass by Enzo Maresca was easily dealt with by Bolat.

“Our players did a good job but didn’t do much with their chances,” Olympiakos coach Zico said. “The players made great sacrifices but we didn’t get the result we came for.”

The win means Liege keeps its chances of advancing to the first knockout round alive, but will face group leaders Arsenal again at the end of the month, while Olympiakos face last-place AZ Alkmaar.